Rear Adm. Leendert “Len” Hering Sr. USN, (retired), is a prominent military and civilian sustainability leader with a broad background in energy and environmental issues. His passion in sustainability is educating people on the dangers the future holds unless responsible actions are taken to secure the nation’s energy independence and to preserve water, air quality and other resources.
A native of Portsmouth, Va., Hering retired from the Navy in 2009 after more than 32 years of service as a surface warfare officer. He is considered one of the Navy’s leading experts in base operations and facility support with an emphasis on sustainability and the environment.
His sea assignments included duty aboard USS Santa Barbara (AE 28); USS Fahrion (FFG 22); USS Aries (PHM 5) as Commanding Officer; and USS Doyle (FFG 39) as Commanding Officer. His assignments ashore included duty on the staff of Commander, Destroyer Squadron Twelve; aide and administrative assistant to the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Naval Warfare; action officer Joint Operations Directorate J-33, The Joint Staff; 1st battalion officer and ethics instructor, U.S. Naval Academy; and commanding officer of Naval Base San Diego.
His flag officer assignments included commander, Naval Surface Group Pacific Northwest; commander, Navy Region Northwest; and commander, Navy Region Southwest.
His most noteworthy efforts as a flag officer included business process improvement, environmental compliance, sustainable practices, renewable energy use, responsible water use and resource conservation.
He built a team that was recognized throughout the Department of Defense as the leader in environmental protection and sustainable innovation. Within three years, the team reduced energy consumption by nearly 42%, diverted 75% of Navy waste from landfills and reduced water consumption by more than one billion gallons, saving tens of millions of taxpayer dollars.
Hering initiated the adoption of wind, thermal, photovoltaic and conversion technology at all levels in Navy facilities.
President Bush awarded him a 2005 Presidential Award for Leadership in Federal Energy Management.
In 2009, Hering joined the University of San Diego (USD), where as vice president for business services and administration he initiated numerous campus sustainability programs. During his two years in this role, USD installed the largest solar system of any private campus in the country, instituted the most comprehensive water abatement project in the school’s history and reformed numerous business practices to help control costs. His efforts resulted in saving more than 3 million gallons of water per year and more than $1 million in electrical costs.
From 2012 to 2018, Hering served as president and executive director of the Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE), a company dedicated to accelerating the transition to a sustainable world powered by clean energy. CSE provides information, incentives and opportunities to help make the choices easier. It works with policy makers, public agencies, local government, utilities, business and civic leaders and individuals to transform all aspects of the energy marketplace.
Under Hering’s leadership, CSE grew from a small local and regional firm to one that now has four offices and operates in five states. In less than five years, he took the company from 62 employees to 159 and increased the budget from $5.1M to $15.7M.
He has proudly served on more than 13 different boards in various capacities over the past 20 years and is currently: an advisory board member to the prestigious Center for Climate and Security, a think tank in Washington, D.C.; chairman of the board to the Charter Schools of San Diego; first vice president of the San Diego Armed Services YMCA; a member of the board of The San Diego Veterans Medical Research Foundation; a member of the board of the Captain Phillips and Lane Kirkland Maritime Trust Foundation; a member of a number of other local non-profit boards.
He has been married to his wife Sharon of northeast Maryland for 37 years and together they have raised three sons. Their oldest son Lee is a senior chief petty officer in the submarine service; their middle son Tim is the assistant art director for Sullen Clothing; and their youngest son Christopher is a project coordinator for Sullivan Solar. They have five grandchildren: Aurora, Ashur, Jaxson, Lukas and Bellona.